Ukraine Situation Report: 3,000 155mm NATO Artillery Rounds Being Fired A Day
The artillery duel in Ukraine’s east shows no signs of slowing as troops gobble through thousands of 155mm rounds every single day.
A senior defense official told reporters in a background briefing on Friday that Ukrainian forces are firing some 3,000 155mm shells per day at Russian forces.
The revelation came amid questioning on the latest tranche of weapons and ammunition being sent to Ukraine, including, for the first time 1,000 guided 155mm 'smart' shells.
The official said despite the high usage rate, Ukrainian forces still have “substantial stores” of 155mm rounds and are far from running out with more rounds on the way. The U.S. and NATO allies have donated hundreds of thousands of 155mm rounds to Ukraine.
“We’ve supplied it, other countries have supplied that,” the official said. “... We know what their use rate is, we know what their store rate is, and we're monitoring that as we continue to supply them capabilities.”
Footage from Friday showed a Ukrainian PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzer crew firing 155mm rounds every eight seconds in combat near the frontline.
It’s not hard to imagine how quickly the shells disappear with one, more likely several guns at a time, firing seven rounds per minute in the heaviest fighting. Scaled up to the number of 155mm guns sent to Ukraine like the M109 self-propelled variants, M777 howitzers, and the PzH-2000, and the math leads to an incredible volume of fire.
Before heading into the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can get caught up with our previous rolling coverage here.
Here's the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense, which specifically noted Russia calling up reserve forces outfitted with dated MT-LB armored personnel carriers.
We have new footage of Ukrainian troops returning to Snake Island in the Black Sea after its abandonment by Russian forces.
Ukrainian combat divers reportedly reached the island via underwater vehicles, as well as what appear to be rigid-hull inflatable boats as seen in the video above.
It appears the Russians left a lot of scrap metal behind, mostly the remains of bombed-out Tor and Pantsir-S1 air defense systems.
Ukrainian forces appear to have struck an ammunition depot at the occupied Kherson airport in the latest attack on Russian munitions stores.
It’s not immediately clear whether HIMARS rockets struck the site as has been suggested in similar attacks into Russin-held territory. While HIMARS has a much-enhanced range over unguided artillery, the eight systems currently in the country represent a tiny amount of the overall fires. In other words, it's easy to attribute any high-profile attack to HIMARS, but that isn't realistic.
In something that looks like a scene out of a sci-fi movie, footage shows Ukrainian troops loading an 82mm mortar on a quadrotor drone as it hovers for use against Russian forces.
It appears troops have modified the mortars with a plastic or metal fairing attached at the tail complete with a carabiner-style attacher. A soldier hangs the mortar underneath the DJI drone and appears to arm it before signaling the operator to take off toward the unseen target.
While a common weapon thus far in the war, the clip is a rare look at how troops have modified both the drone and mortars to create a low-budget air attack system.
Far from the frontlines, a report from Sky News documented the start of training for thousands of Ukrainian troops in England.
Groups of 200 Ukrainian troops at a time, with goals of 10,000 troops trained every 120 days, are in the program at four separate bases far from Russian forces’ reach. Russian missiles struck the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in western Ukraine in March, formerly home to a U.S. and NATO training contingent before the war, and continued missile attacks put any fixed training facilities in Ukraine at risk.
With foreign support in mind, a deal between Germany and Norway will reportedly bring ammunition for German-supplied Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.
Switzerland blocked the re-transfer of the Gepard’s 35mm Oerlikon autocannon ammunition in late April when Germany announced the guns’ donation.
Lastly, in northern Ukraine, it appears Ukrainian troops have begun fortifying the border with Belarus with mines and dug-in defensive positions, video from the Belarusian side of the border shows.
Russian forces staged in and invaded from Belarus at the start of the war in February. In late June, Russia and Belarus announced plans to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles in the country, and Russian bombers launched cruise missiles from Belarusian airspace. Given those recent developments, the defenses are likely a precaution should Belarus either join the war or Russian troops renew an offensive from Belarusian territory.
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